The JC Letters Page June 30 2017

Stephen Collins, Barry Davis, Hadi Samsami, Barry Davis, Hilary Segall and Raymond Levy share their views with JC readers

June 30, 2017 16:56

Is coverage of Al Quds march beneficial?

Your leader on the Al Quds Day rally states: “Even worse [than the police standing by], this race hate on the streets of central London received almost no coverage” (Hatred in public, June 23).  

Surely that is the saving grace of the whole squalid episode? Why on earth would you want the mainstream media to report absurd antisemitic statements by irredeemable antisemites?

For every reader outraged by what was said, there may be two who draw inspiration from it. It must be better, in the hackneyed phrase, to deny them the oxygen of publicity.

Stephen Collins, 
Pinner, Middlesex HA5 

Much as I found the “march” detestable I’m hopeful that, by not having much media coverage, the “marchers” will have achieved only the annoyance and inconvenience of pedestrians and road users.

May one hope that the “other JC”, whose star has recently received much media attention will have something constructive to say… but I’m not holding my breath!

Barry Davis, 
New Barnet EN5

Replying to Ryan

I have read the article by my MP Joan Ryan included in the online edition of the Jewish Chronicle and cannot overlook some of the points without making some comments.

She refers to “anti-Zionist antisemitism” within the Labour Party.  Antisemitism and anti-Zionism are quite different.  Antisemitism, whether viewed as prejudice against all people of Semitic origin (Arabs and Jews) or some of them, is tantamount to racism and has no place in Labour politics.

Anti-Zionism is endorsed by those opposed to the philosophy developed by Theodor Herzl in the face of racism in Europe.  Many Jews are against Zionism, including Neturei Karta and opposition to it cannot be regarded as racism, especially as, in the wake of Zionism, the majority of Palestinians are now refugees.

Furthermore, she refers to Mr. Corbyn’s “involvement with anti-Israel activism”.  Mr. Corbyn has been involved in criticising Israel and its policy of occupation, just as he has been involved in criticism of other countries’ policies.

The article criticises the Palestine Solidarity Campaign for not recognising Israel. This is not the case. PSC would like Israel to recognise Palestine and cease occupation of Palestinian lands and respect UN Resolutions. There are of course other injustices caused by the policy of occupation that PSC would like to bring to public attention, including the treatment of child prisoners and the Right of Return of Palestinians to their homes.

Finally, the article points out that the 2017 general election defeat was Labour’s third, without referring to Labour’s share of the vote, which was 40.0 per cent, compared with 40.7 per cent in the Labour landslide of 2001.

Hadi Samsami, 
Enfield, Middx EN2 

Wrong screening

I read Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll’s article (Dangers of stringent modesty) with mounting horror and anger that Charedi men in B’nai Brak are denying their wives the opportunity to learn about the dangers of breast cancer (there, the dreaded word “breast” has been said). These men have no right to deny their wives the chance to discuss their health; this is tantamount to abuse. 

The rabbonim need to address this issue quick-smart otherwise there may be a lot of little children being left motherless when it could so easily have been avoided.

Hilary Segall, 
Ilford, Essex IG4

Many more Sephardim than you think

I compliment you on your very balanced reporting of, and informed commentary on, the crisis arising from Rabbi Joseph Dweck’s May 8 lecture and the reaction to it. However, there is a significant inaccuracy in your feature on the back page of your June 23 issue.

You say that there are 15 Sephardi synagogues in the UK. The true number is significantly higher. I know of 28.
Of about 24 Sephardi congregations, at least two have more than one synagogue building. The Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation of London, now operating under the name “S&P Sephardi Community”, has three synagogues (Bevis Marks in the City of London, Lauderdale Road in Maida Vale and Forty Lane in Wembley) and Manchester’s Sha’are Hayim congregation has two (West Didsbury and Hale).

It seems that your figure of 2,930 households for the collective membership of the Sephardi synagogues is based on your underestimate of the number of Sephardi synagogues.

The aggregate membership of the two congregations mentioned in my previous paragraph is about 1,800 households. The actual number of Sephardi households is well in excess of your figure of 2,930.  Also, your synagogue membership figure does not take account of the many Sephardi households which are members of Ashkenazi congregations.

There are probably at least 18,000 Sephardim in the UK, including those who are members only of Ashkenazi synagogues and those who are not members of any synagogue.

Raymond Levy
Manchester M33



June 30, 2017 16:56

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